Now that all the recapping and vacation and race report posts are done, here’s just a random update on things and stuff as tri season is beginning. Since it’s been a super busy week, hallo, this is a brain dump.
The water is a magical place for me right now. I’m not sure WHAT happened over this winter (and it certainly wasn’t heavy amounts of meters), but my pace has just… dropped. Paces that would have scared the shit out of me last year are easy. I would comment that why the hell can’t this just happen with my running, but I won’t look a gifthorse in the mouth, so I WON’T say that, but try to figure out why (so I can apply it to the rest of my training or something).
I’m just going to drop some theories as to why because it’s quite honestly puzzling.
- I never completely ditched swimming (though I only swam once in October, and twice in November) like I do every year after tri season is over.
- I’m keepin’ it real. All my swims are at a mile or under, not trying to break any distance records for zero reason. That lets me play with some speed and still use it as recovery for other sports.
- Maybe something in my form clicked. I haven’t specifically been working on drills much, but I definitely have been trying to pay attention to form and not swim sloppy.
- All the run endurance might be paying dividends in the pool, and harder swims just feel easier because I’m fitter overall?
- The 10 extra lbs I’m carrying are working like a floatation device?
I *do* know that I’m much more comfortable pushing myself both in the pool and the lake. I’m much less likely to just space out and swim. My easiest efforts are really what I’d consider *steady* (feel like I had a workout, but on the level of a recovery run), and I have no problems picking it up when that’s happens.
I am also much more comfortable, somehow, with speeding up more quickly. The last few years, it would take me most of a sprint swim to get warmed up. Now, since I regularly swim ~1000 meters, I don’t have the luxury to spend half of that getting up to speed – especially in a chilly pool. 🙂
Anyway, I’m pleasantly happy with my swimming progress and paces and feel like I’m uniquely ready to tackle the swim leg of the triathlon this year for some rippin’ PRs.
Here’s the sport I ignored all winter. Something had to give with marathon training, and it was cycling. I used it mainly on days when I couldn’t run but still wanted to do *something*, and to warm up/cool down after long runs. So, I didn’t expect to be in a good place with it.
However, we’re not at odds with each other as much as I expected. If I was ramping up for an early season 70.3 I would be in trouble, but since the most I’ll be racing is ~25 miles until September, the run fitness seems to be carrying over to predict decent short course bike splits.
I’m back at Endurance Cycling (or, as they call it, the Pure Pain Cave) once a week again getting my ass handed to me with great bike workouts. I believe, if nothing else, this is the key to being a better cyclist.
We rode outside at Lake Pflugerville and I felt a lot stronger than I expected. Zliten lead on the way out and decided to do hill sprints without telling anyone, so that was a few miles of “what the fuck” pace on the hills and “what in the actual fuck are you doing” pace on the flats. When we got near the half point, we stopped a few times for a mechanical and to check out the goats, and then for something else if I remember correctly, and then I decided I was leading on the way back and we rode steady efforts.
Outdoor efforts that are not races are really never the ones I push the hardest, because of the traffic and roads and distractions and people in the way and not dropping or getting dropped by people that you ride with and maybe that’s the reason that my bike rank is typically on the lower side. But it’s the reality I live in right now. The WORK predominantly needs to happen indoors. Or on a deck, this week. <3 outdoor spin.
However, when I *do* get to get out on the roads, I should probably not waste those 2-4 times per month fucking around and easy riding.
As per typical in early season triathlons, my bike is the biggest question mark. I definitely have a lalalala lot less bike miles under me this year, but I’m doing lots more quality. I think I just have to be open to digging a little deeper into the hurt than I did last year (I’m much more familiar with “throw up pace” than I was last year) and I may be able to pull out some good performances. Having less miles on my legs might be a *good* thing. We’ll see.
Whereas I’m training really specifically for the other two sports, I’m trying to continue to maintain a good run base in preparation for the fall/winter. So, where on all the other sports I’m doing just enough to prepare for the event, I’m piling on the run miles. My average is about 28.5 miles per week so far this year which is PHENOMENAL for me. If I can keep up even 25 miles per week average, I can hit 1300 this year which is like a 40% increase from last year, which was a mileage PR already.
My running stick is definitely not completely sharpened yet after the marathon, but I’ve been seeing some pointy bits sticking out.
I ran a 9:36 pace 10 mile race, which is the fastest pace thus far I’ve run 10+ miles EVER.
I did a 8:50-pace 5k (split into two for double bricks). Nothing compared to last year’s 7:40-something mile, but my legs have finally come around again from the ramp up and I think I have a lot more speed in me, I just need to strike the right balance with training (enough miles, but not too much, enough speed to practice going faster than a jog, not enough to burn out/injure myself).
I’ve been doing these fast finish long runs, and they are going REALLY well.
- After running 6 miles easy, I was able to run 4 miles at around 10:20s. I had no idea what pace it was since my garmin was dead, I just ran whatever felt on the edge of comfortable (high zone 2).
- After running 9 miles easy, I was able to pick it up and run the last 4.25 miles at 9:40 pace. Which, actually, happens to 6 seconds faster than my half marathon PR pace. And this was some random Saturday with no caffeine and not a lot of fuel (1 gel, 1 gatorade).
While I’d like to be rocking more speedwork, I think these are probably some of the best ways to get my legs ready to rock off the bike while still maintaining my long run.
I had a lot of “now, who’s legs do I use to do this workout?” moments in early April, but I feel like I’ve absorbed the ramp up and I’m feeling pretty fresh at this balance and I’ll try to roll this way (with a taper week before each tri) through mid-June.
Looking at the massive amount of burnout I was facing last year at this time, I’m glad that life conspired to make me take March a little easy. I definitely am happy I’m not going into another full build cycle right now, but I’m totally stoked to play at sprint and olympics for the spring.
This is pretty much the plan, minus a rest week here and there…
25 run miles
- 1 long run at least every 2 weeks
- 1 run with some ~10k to 13.1 pace miles in it (can be long run)
- 1 dose of FAST speedwork (track, double/triple bricks, 5k time trial, etc)
- Everything else easy
- 1 Endurance Cycle class OR similarly ass kicking 90 mins at home if I have to miss it.
- 1 easy hour
- 1 outdoor ride or video. Outdoor at least a few times a month.
2 swims per week
- 1 pool swim. Sets of stuff.
- 1 OWS. Keep the gas on.
- One of these needs to be at least ~1500m.
- Stretching, rolling, easy spins before and after long runs. Body preservation type of stuff.
- Strength stuff like core work, weights, kayak, s’up, yoga, etc.
- Try to get 1-2 hours of this stuff per week. 10-20 mins at a time is fine.
About that 10 lbs…
I had my first week of tracking 100% of the food I eat. And do you know what? I really think just the act of staying on top of that helped me make *some* better choices. I flat out made terrible choices on Saturday after my 13 mile long run and I can say it’s because we were at a party and that’s what was there, but I need to remember it’s MY responsibility to not eat like a jerk and remember vegetables are better than potato chips even if I did run for 2.5 hours that day.
I am stuck around 181-183 since post marathon/vacation/birthdays. This is not my happy weight. All my clothes fit like ass right now. I feel like I look a little pregnant (which I am not, thxuverymuch). This isn’t manifesting itself that much in my workouts, though I can only imagine it would be super nice to drag less of me up hills on bikes and what my run paces could be if I was back to my 173 Kerrville race weight.
This is about week #3 of really giving it an effort, so this should be the week I start seeing some results if I’m doing it right. It’s always really fucking disheartening to not see a damn change for 2 weeks, but it is what it is and I know to expect it.
If I don’t feel like I’m making enough progress I start investigating dieticians again in May (probably starting with the ones at my gym since that’s convenient).
Last week I ate approximately 2000 calories per day (average worked out to 2033 with some light days being around 1600, and Saturday being over 3000). I did 9 hours of training. Let’s call that approximately 4500 calories, at 500 calories an hour (on the range of probably burning about 300 biking easy to about 700 running fast). This should show a fairly decent deficit. So, body, let’s start seeing it, please!
I’m ready to work on this one. I have no idea why, sometimes, I just don’t give a shit about this stuff, and if I held back just a little, I might not have to lose the same damn 10 lbs over and over. Sigh.
And, there’s a little slice of my life. Heading back into the fray!